As much as I would love this to be detailed, point form is the only way I’m going to be able to record it and still have time for, you know, breathing.
Morning: Running errands. The boy dawdles and doesn’t listen to repeated instructions, and develops a very annoying pattern of taking six steps then falling to his knees, hanging off my hand. Despite this, he is in a good mood. I carry him bodily out of Sears and give him a sound talking-to back at the car. We do not find the birthday gift we planned to pick up. Also, somewhere during the very first stop I lose the list detailing All The Other Things We’re Supposed To Pick Up. Ergo, I forget them. We do, however, acquire a ball for the boy to bring out to the country with us (see ‘Saturday,’ below).
Afternoon: Arthur comes to visit!!! (And we get to briefly see Curtana too.) For the rest of the day we have two giggly boys who bound through the house, build fantastic train layouts, and make loud but enthusiastic music. Dinner, bath, jammies, then a special treat of curling up on the chesterfield under a throw with bowls of popcorn and a brand new Thomas hour-long film to watch, which means Liam gets to stay up and hour and a bit past his bedtime. (Thank you, Pierce Brosnan, for making the narration not completely irritating to listen to.) Arthur is collected at a quarter to nine. Liam is sad but the fun they had during the day wins out mood-wise. The boy falls dead asleep at nine on the dot. Wow.
Morning: HRH heads out to get the oil changed and to pick up the housewarming gift I forgot on Friday. He comes back to collect us, we put a wee bit of gas in the car, and grab breakfast for the trip out to the Coalition Stronghold. I figure out that the reason I’m squinting is because I forgot to put my glasses on before we left, and naturally I don’t carry my extra pair any more. Back home; pick up glasses; hit highway. Liam pulls out his blanket and BunBun, arranges himself, and falls asleep at 10:45. Argh! HRH and I enjoy the drive to Maxville, appreciating the autumn trees and the golden sun. The boy wakes up when we turn onto a gravel road. Well, at least he got about seventy minutes of sleep. Too bad it was two hours early.
Afternoon: We relax at the Coalition Stronghold, the new abode of t! and Jan. We have the place and out hosts to ourselves for a while before the next car shows up. In the meantime the boy’s track is set up and the trains run, and HRH and I are handed bottles of beer that we cannot find in Quebec. Yay, colonial loyalty! More friends show up; there are hugs and news exchanged. HRH, the boy, and I go for a walk into the back forty behind the Coalition Stronghold through mowed and unmowed fields to see the pond. There are no ducks on said pond, which disappoints the boy mightily. When back, I try to get the boy to lie down for a nap. It might have succeeded if someone hadn’t opened the closed door while exploring the house, causing Liam to jump up and greet them enthusiastically. Ah well. There is food that mysteriously aggregates on the dining room table, and an impromptu Scrabble game that Lu wins. More friends show up, just as we leave to be home in time for a proper wind-down, dinner, bath, and bed. We bring our winter order of organic beef home with us; the size of the roasts and hamburger packages are perfect. Our chest freezer is full. We will have to shift things or pack them in canny fashion in order to fit the 15ish pounds of pork we have coming in soonish as well. We also gas up in Ontario. Gas for under a dollar a litre! Whee!
Evening: Coven meeting, at which the ritual we’re leading at next weekend’s all-day retreat is approved by all, and some final questions noted down to pass along to the other participants.
Morning of cleaning and housework and errands. I roll three balls of yarn, two necessary because Gryffindor weaselled them out of hiding and neutralised the dangerous woolly threats by turning them into hopeless messes. I hem that new pair of pants I got last week. After lunch I head out for a baby shower, which is lovely, but which I have to leave early because I have my first cello lesson to attend. I wear my funky red shoes for confidence at the lesson, and those new pants. I mistime the travel and realize I’ll be half an hour early if I go straight there, so I stop at the needlework shop to buy the needles I need for my next knitting project. (Note: ‘Next’ implies I’ve ever finished one. I have failed miserably at every knitting project I’ve ever tried. But I have begun a new one [armwarmers for me] and have decided to heroically attempt a hat for the newly hairless Mousme.) I go from the needlework shop to my lesson and am ten minutes early anyway. Sigh. I make a critical decision and unpick the new hems on my pants with my Swiss army knife. When someone else shows up for the group lesson I unload the cello and walk into my teacher’s house behind her. I enjoy myself, after the initial ‘oh hell I’m the only one who doesn’t know anyone here’ discomfort. Once the group lesson itself begins, to my surprise I do not suck. (See ‘Expanded Cello Stuff,’ below.) Home for dinner made by HRH, a really awesome steak done on the barbecue. Put boy to bed, then sit down for an hour and hammer out the phrasing for ‘Itsumo Nando Demo’. Go to bed, read, fall asleep.
All in all, a Very Good Weekend.
EXPANDED CELLO STUFF:
It was odd: I was both nervous and not about this lesson. My first lesson was supposed to be a private one last Thursday, but last week was a disaster of sick people and forcing four days of work into two, so it didn’t happen. Instead, the once-a-month group lesson ended up being my first. I am, as I repeatedly point out and people seem to disbelieve because I do an impressive job pretending otherwise, extremely shy, so walking into an established social group of ten people was daunting. What’s the etiquette? Where do I put my stuff? Did I take someone’s parking spot? Am I sitting in someone’s customary seat? At the same time, I knew my teacher and one other student, having played with them in the orchestra for seven and three years respectively, so I had something of a lifeline. The little coffee break between the youngest cellists’ lesson and the group lesson was the most awkward, so awkward for me that I took a cup of coffee to have something to do with my hands (and it was really, really good coffee too, which was nice). Eventually we settled and our teacher put us in various places around the room, we tuned, and started playing.
This is the point where I actually relaxed. I know, I know; normally I’d be tense about playing in a small group with people I don’t know. But somewhere a couple of minutes in, I realised that I didn’t suck. I am used to expecting to be/actually being of a lower technical proficiency than others. Here I was at par with, or even more confident than, others in the group. The beginning was rocky because I was having trouble hearing my intonation, but then something clicked and then it was all okay. There was the disaster of misplacing my hand badly when I had to go really high up while sight-reading an arrangement of Satie’s ‘Gymnopedie’, but hey, sight-reading for fun; no harm, no foul. (Lovely, lovely pieces in that Cellobrations collection for cello quartet, I hope we play lots of them in the future.) I enjoyed it all so much that I played one of the new pieces I was given at the lesson when I got home while the boy was in the bath ( “Is Mama playing her cello for me? While I’m in the bath?” followed by appreciative applause when I’d done), and after I’d put him to bed I sat down for another hour and really worked on bowings and phrasing for the song Sandman7 and I are working on. It took me the whole hour to play bits with different bowings, make a decision one way or the other, and put slurs and bowings in for the entire piece to get it to where I was happy with the phrasing. Next comes recording it while I play it in this version and listening to it to see if it actually works from an audience POV.
Also, my teacher showed us the most adorable Twinkle bow, a fully functional miniature bow used to teach children how to hold it properly and to use the proper wrist and elbow motions. Because it’s so tiny you can’t help but hold it properly in order to get the maximum yield from the hair. We squealed when we saw it.
I think that’s a decent summary of the weekend. We loved having Arthur over. I had a terrific beginning to my first lessons in ten years. I saw people I only get to see once in a while both at the housewarming and at the baby shower (including the mother-to-be!). We really, really enjoyed being out in the country on Saturday. We want to try to visit the Coalition Stronghold at least once a month, but realistically it will likely end up being every six weeks or so.
It was wonderful to have such a positive weekend.
I think that’s about it. The end.